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Just a quick note to let you know I've moved my blog to the following address:

http://www.michellebenthamcreates.com

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's IOW: Masks Off!



Hiding out... It has been my specialty all my life.  Hiding behind what people say about me, think about me...

I'm one of those people who would pass you in the hallway at work, at the altar at church and even in Aisle #9 of the local Wal-Mart and lie through my teeth that I am fine when in truth I'm coming apart at the seamed edges of my tattered, war-weary soul.

I now work in a safe environment.  A place where someone who has been praying for me walks by and says, "Hey, do you have a few minutes just to check in?" 

When we get into an office with a closed door the question is, "How are you really?"

My answers range from.... "I feel like my head is about to explode....." to "Fine..." to "It was a rough night at home because ______________________ happened."  You fill in the blank.

Life has a way of hitting us where we live.  Doesn't it?

At this moment, I see a huge ballroom full of elegantly dressed people wearing ethereal looking masks.  They dance as the glowing lights bounce off the iridescent porcelain of their masks.  Pasted smiles dawn the mask as eerie music clouds the backdrop.  The dancers move in tandem to one another - first pulling others to them, then hastily pushing them away as if they get too close.

At the far end of the room, a young woman with a maid's costume enters.  Her mask is strikingly absent.  The beauty of her face shines like the dawn. She has a fresh track of tears streaming down her cheeks as she walks through the room of fake and playful dancers.

All she seeks is to be seen, to be heard.... To be valued and admired for who she is... Who He says she is. But the dancers are so busy hiding their own sorrow, their own shortcomings, their own pain - they don't even notice the radiant one in their midst.

She has a mark of beauty on her that no one takes the time to see.  She has the mark of love on her that no one has taken the time to explore.  She has the mark of time on her that no one seems to care is expiring.  She has the lost and empty eyes of a soul in search of freedom but no one leads the way.

This is a scene that could be the truth about any one of our churches, social circles or PTA meetings at any given time this week. So many people pretending to be something they are not, hiding behind great jobs, beautiful houses and the finest things that credit can buy - yes, even the piety of the church they attend.  All the while they are missing the opportunities to share truth, hope and love in the deepest ways.

This weekend my husband and I unearthed some deep and destructive roots in our marriage that set off some soul shattering tremors in our home.  It was painful, messy and hard. I was wrecked like a small boat tossed against rocks on the shoreline.  It left me not only emotionally exhausted, but also physically ill. I missed work yesterday due to the malady I was nursing.

When I returned today, I had a list of things to get accomplished and a volunteer at the front door waiting to help.  She is a precious woman who is completely enthralled with her God while walking out the nooks and crannies of a journey of grief missing the husband who has gone ahead of her to heaven. Our conversation was inspiring as we reflected the deepening of our relationships with God through grief.  How our children fared through their grief and the irony of blessing in the midst of devastating losses.

Near the end of the day my overseer, Alan, stopped by my desk and asked if I had a few minutes to "catch up" and "visit." I walked into his office and he asked the catch up question, "How are you doing?"

I confessed I didn't know if my illness was truly the result of catching a "bug" or more related to the marital earthquake I had experienced the day before.  He spent that time listening to my heart and asked relative questions. Then we came to the place where I finished talking and he said, "What do you need?"

I sat there uncomfortably aware that I had no idea what I needed. He let me mingle in my silence and thoughts until I finally said, "I think I just need to feel safe."

He asked God to talk to me about what it means to be safe, and then we listened.  I clearly heard my Father say, "Safety doesn't depend on your circumstances because you are always safe with Me."  Indeed.

Alan then asked God to show me about a safe place. Immediately, I was in a light, airy dress frolicking through a harvest field to the front porch of an old farmhouse.  There my Savior greeted me and we played jacks and danced on the worn floorboards in the warm afternoon sun.

I was safe.  Alan then asked the Lord to speak to me about my marriage.  I felt Him take my hand and gently whisper, "It has been restored.  Just stay with it."

My heart was swelling in His peace.  Alan then prayed a sweet, affirming prayer about Scott and I over me as the Lord caressed my wounded heart with His healing waves of love.

Let's go back to the ballroom now, that same handmaiden that was walking lost through the room is stopped by a Prince clad in gold and white. He smiles at her and extends his hand to her.  The love in His eyes overwhelms her.  He leads her out the doorway of the ballroom into a large, abundant field filled with a harvest crop of wheat bowing beneath the weight of the Spirits wind upon it.  The harvest is ripe.  He leads her across the field as her servant's garment fades into a beautiful, white linen gown.  He whisks her up the steps onto the front porch of an old farmhouse where her bare toes part the floorboards as He masterfully leads her in an elegant waltz.  Her heart is finally at rest in her Savior's arms.

All because someone stopped by, checked in and listened to her heart.

Yes, we could do it so much better.  Shall we start today?

Jesus commended us to meet the needs of others by pursuing first His Kingdom and Righteousness.  I'm thankful He put me in a safe place.

Loni is hosting Tuesday's In Other Words, a writing meme based on inspirational quotes.  Stop by, check it out and leave her note along the way. 





3 comments:

Tami Boesiger said...

Yes, we need to be on the look out for hurting souls and be willing to say, "How are you REALLY?".

Praying God continues to soothe your heart.

LittleWomen21 said...

I loved how you described the ballroom, and the old farmhouse - you know I've never envisioned my relationship with Jesus. I am absolutely secure in my relationship with Him, but it's never manifested itself in visuals (though I did have a dream about heaven once). Anyway, it was really neat to "see" Jesus through your eyes as both a friend and a Prince. I also loved this statement "Safety doesn't depend on your circumstances because you are always safe with Me." Praise Him for giving you this wisdom to find comfort in & to share.

Also wanted to mention that this Sunday my husband and I had a big blow out too. We are working through it... though there continues to be the temptation to sigh and say "things will never change." But God keeps loving me even though I continue to mess up all the time and feel like I never change for the better... so how can I do less than keep loving my husband?

Claudia said...

What a beautiful picture of the maiden in the ballroom of dancers. God has truly blessed you with people who know your heart and pray over you. God will heal you and your marriage as you continue to trust Him.